Swifts are remarkable birds

Swifts are remarkable birds

Swifts are remarkable birdsThey fly enormous distances from their “winter holiday destination” in southern Africa to spend just three months in the UK.  Out of all the birds that migrate to the UK, only cuckoos spend less time here. Even more amazing is how well designed Swift bodies are for life in the air. During their lifetime they barely touch ground. The only thing they can’t do on the wing is lay eggs and raise chicks. They feed on the wing. They sleep on the wing. They even have sex on the wing (something we humans find hard to envisage!).

These wonderful birds are under threat in the UK from the sharp reduction in their nesting places – holes in walls or space under the eaves of houses or old buildings like churches. Swift bird numbers are falling rapidly. Swifts migrate from southern Africa every year to the UK in the Spring. Every year, they return to the same breeding place with the same mate. No one knows but the assumption is that they “agree” to meet up each year – same time, same place.  Divorce is unknown in swiftworld!  However, when one partner doesn‘t survive the long journey from Africa a substitute of the same sex is soon found.  Swift birds lay 2 or 3 eggs. The young are able to fly – without having to practise – by the end of July and leave the nest, never to return.

You can help to protect swifts from further decline by entering BirdRun.